25 Nov 2019

NeighborhoodLIFT program off to a good start

Housing Affordability Philanthropy

NeighborhoodLIFT® Summary Report: Pittsburgh, PA – Allegheny County

NeighborhoodLIFT® is a collaborative effort between Wells Fargo, local nonprofits, and NeighborWorks® America (NWA). The program provides down payment assistance grants, homebuyer counseling and education, as well as Local Initiatives, and LIFT the Block grants focused on supporting efforts to revitalize housing markets. LIFT programs have provided $494 million to advance sustainable homeownership and support the revitalization of communities since 2012, with homebuyers purchasing more than $3 billion in real estate nationally. Wells Fargo has conducted 77 LIFT program events in the U.S. since 2012, creatingmore than 22,400 homeowners.

The NeighborhoodLIFT program for Pittsburgh, PA – Allegheny County follows Wells Fargo’s announcement in June of an evolution in the company’s philanthropic strategy, which includes a $1 billion commitment over the next six years to address the U.S. housing affordability crisis.

Press Event

The Press Event took place on October 29 in the living room of a rehabilitated affordable home in Pittsburgh, PA. More than 30 were in attendance representing four organizations. All four local TV stations and the main radio station and newspaper were in attendance. Speakers included Tiffany Tavarez, Wells Fargo Community Relations Senior Consultant; Nick Bruno, PCG Market Manager; County Executive Richard Fitzgerald, Allegheny County; Mayor Bill Peduto, City of Pittsburgh; and Colin Kelley, CEO, NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania (WPA).

Community Conversation and Realtor Event

The Community Conversation and Realtor Event took place October 30 at the Westin Pittsburgh. Twenty people representing 15 organizations attended the Community Conversation and 20 realtors attended the Realtor Event. Key speakers included Tiffany Tavarez, Wells Fargo Community Relations Senior Consultant; Nick Bruno, PCG Market Manager; Stephanie Simon, Wells Fargo Sales Advisory Senior Manager; Chelita Neal, Wells Fargo Community Outreach Rep.; Aldustus Jordan, Wells Fargo Community Relations Senior Manager; and Colin Kelley, CEO, NeighborWorks WPA. Additional Wells Fargo attendees at these events included Jim Baum, Regional Communications; Tim Coy, Community Outreach Manager; Pat Curran, Mortgage Retail Market Manager; Kathryn Laughlin, Mortgage Branch Manager; and Aldustus Jordan, Community Relations Senior Manager.


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The 2019 Pittsburgh, PA-Allegheny County NeighborhoodLIFT program launch is the first local market approach that incorporates the statewide model launched in Montana, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Dakota, Idaho, and Alaska. The $3.9 million philanthropic investment will help create about 175 homeowners through down payment assistance and homebuyer education. This will boost homeownership and help hundreds of families on the path to sustainable homeownership.

NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania and Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) are NeighborWorks Americaaffiliates. They worked with LIFT customers to determine their eligibility for the NeighborhoodLIFT Program. Funds became available in the market on Monday, November 4. In order to access the funds, customers need to have first mortgage approval (from a participating lender) and a fully executed purchase agreement.

Down Payment Assistance Grants

The down payment assistance grants were $15,000. Income for borrowers must not exceed 80% of the local area median income (AMI). The limit for a household of four in Allegheny County is $63,900. An additional $2,500 in down payment assistance for a total of $17,500 is available for military, teachers, and first responders with eligibility requirements including earning up to 100% of the area median income in Allegheny County, which is $79,900 for up to a family of four.

LIFT the Block and Local Initiative Grants

Local Initiatives

$150,000 in NeighborhoodLIFT local initiative grants to support housing affordability and financial health resources in Allegheny County with nonprofits Mon Valley Initiative, Inc., Pittsburgh Housing Development Corporation, and Sisters Place, Inc. each receiving a $50,000 grant.

LIFT the Block

The following nonprofit organizations received financial and Wells Fargo volunteer support for their efforts and focus on neighborhood beautification:

  • $25k – Military Warrior Support Foundation: Wells Fargo team volunteers will rehabilitate a home forfemale veterans attending college or trade school.
  • $75k – Pittsburgh Housing Development Corp: This grant is in support of the Pittsburg Roof-A-Thon. Overa two-week period the roofs of low-income homeowners will be repaired in collaboration with UrbanRedevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh’s Housing Opportunity Fund Department.Homeownership Counseling GrantsUp to $100,000 is available to provide up to 200 interested homebuyers an opportunity for complimentary face-to-face credit counseling by participating HUD-approved agencies. The Home Ownership Counseling initiative is an additional resource and does not meet the homebuyer education requirement for NeighborhoodLIFT program down payment assistance grants.


NeighborhoodLIFT Programs

LIFT programs from 2012 through year end 2019

  • 22,500 homeowners
  • LIFT homeowners purchased in 900+ municipalities
  • $500millioninvested
  • Majority of LIFT program homeowners represent low-and moderate-income households
  • $3.36 billion total real estate purchased on an aggregate basis (as of March 2019)


LIFT programs have been held in states denoted in purple.


Media coverage

The Pittsburgh, PA-Allegheny County NeighborhoodLIFT event generated more than 15 stories – all positive news including:




• Lendingahelpinghand:Newprogramtoaidfirst-timehomebuyersinAlleghenyCountywithdownpayments

  • New Homebuyer Assistance Program to Help Boost Homeownership in Allegheny Co.
  • Western Pennsylvania Homeownership to Get $3.3 Million Boost


Thanks to everyone who helped make the77th NeighborhoodLIFT event in Pittsburgh, PA – Allegheny County possible!